Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sea Swallows

The only thing to do was to go to Rossall Point this morning as there was a morning tide, the wind was 15-20 mph northeasterly and it is more or less the peak time for Spring seabird passage. I got to the Coastguard's Tower at 0550 and was soon joined by Ian and then later in the morning a few other birders arrived as well.

Straight away Arctic Terns (Sea Swallows) were on the move and some of them were flying over the beach as the tide ran in. In total I had 991 fly into the bay, which was excellent, but Heysham had an incredible 2,683! In addition to the Terns we also had four Arctic Skuas, 3 dark morphs and 1 pale morph, which was expected given the number of Terns. 

Other birds on the sea included 12 Gannets, 22 Eiders, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Wigeon, a 'stonking' summer plumaged male Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-throated Divers, 71 Common Scoters, Fulmar and 3 Sandwich Terns. 

We were seawatching from on top of the 'fixed dune' embankment to get a better angle on birds moving into the bay and it was therefore difficult, nay impossible, to count roosting waders on the beach. However, we did have 10 Whimbrel and one each of full summer plumaged Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. Their brick red underparts looked awesome!

Vis was virtually non-existent except for hirundines and we had 102 Swallows, House Martin and 2 Sand Martins. We also had Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, 7 Linnets, 4 Goldfinch, Chaffinch and 2 Lesser Redpoll. The only grounded migrants were 2 Wheatears. The weather forecast is similar for tomorrow. so it will be some more seawatching for me.

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